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Jammu and Kashmir: Ladakh - Thiksey Gompa and Tik Tok Gumpha
Thiksey Gompha is 20 kilometers off Leh, and falls en route to Hemis. It is a 500 year old monastery built in red and yellow stone, situated atop a mountain. It carries the most intricate decorative work of all gompas in Ladakh and spans across 12 stories. The gompa also provides for a great view point of the valley below. The Buddha idol is quite big here and reaches a height of 25 feet. There are 8 other temples too. Try to reach at 6.30 in the morning or 12 o clock, when there is a religious function. The highest point of the gompa is Lamukhang Chape, where only males are allowed.
There is an attractive festival held here in the month of November, called Gu Stor.
You should buy the portable stand that is available here, as a momento. Opposite to Thiksey lies the 16th century Matho Gompa.
Tak Tok Gompa:
This Gompa is 15 kilometers Karu or Leh Manali road. It is also known as Brak Thok Gompa. It literally means ceilings made of stone.
En route will also fall Chemre Gompa.
It is said that in the 8th century, the Padma Sambhaba guru Rinpoche meditated and lived here. Idols of the guru is also here,along with hundreds of other deities. The temple has been rebuilt in 1966.
Though there is abus going to the monastry, do not take it. The buses are very very crowded, quarrels ahappen on control of seats, they are of very low height, hence standing is very difficult too. There is no maintainence of time schedule too. Hence fgo for hired car option.
In season, sometimes, the J&K tourism organizes buses, contact the tourism department well in advance. You can take these buses if available.